Research says that call volumes, especially fixed-line calls, are declining by almost 10% yearly. Does this also mean that in the near future, we will get to witness something new?
Looking at the rapid use of chatbots and AI, it won’t be entirely wrong for someone to assume that call centers, once flooded with hundreds of people, might become halls stuffed with pure AI-infused hardware.
Moreover, since the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses have been on the skids regarding revenue. However, despite the limited budget, there wasn’t much change in adapting to the forward-looking innovations.
With innovations came the wide usage of chat, self-service, and other communication channels, which implies the death of call centers.
Having known the information so far, the end of call centers might be as clear as mud, making it the perfect time for discussion. Through this article, we will discuss –
- Customers today want more solving, less asking.
- Literally, “Virtual agents”
- Four contact center trends you can’t avoid
- Will call centers die?
Customers today want more solving, less asking.
Just as much as we adjust to new technology, technology also adjusts. For instance, a smartphone keeps updating its models from time to time. This compels the users to get accustomed to the new features.
However, looking at it from the other end of the tunnel, the newly-introduced features in the smartphone adhere to the users’ needs and style.
Similar is the situation in the case of the call centers. While the agents in the call centers have been sitting patiently to listen to customer queries and constantly answering them, the practice seems obsolete in the long run.
Gone are the days when the customer would press 9 and wait to talk to an agent. A study by Zendesk says that nearly 70% of customers are irritated when their call is transferred from one department to another.
In short, customers today want their problems to be solved as soon as possible.
Literally, “Virtual agents”
Virtual agents were actual agents working from home or a satellite office a few years back. But now, it refers to AI, like chatbots.
These software programs are nothing but a bridge to the skill and time gaps between agents and customers in closing queries.
An AI virtual assistant today handles part of the workload that any agent would do. But with time, these agents learn fast.
Four contact center trends you can’t avoid
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Research by Prof. Steven Van Belleghem, author of “the conversation manager”, says that 70% of customers expect a company to have a self-service application on their website.
Here are some of the trends that have a direct impact on the future of call-center softwares.
- Artificial intelligence in customer experience
Businesses today are widely adapting to call center softwares. Might you ask why?
Not only that, but these AI softwares audit 100% of calls and can provide agents with the right coaching for best performance.
- Need for omnichannel communication
Uni-channel communication is becoming water under the bridge. Customers are more driven toward omnichannel communication. We could blame this on the rise of the millennials or simply the advances in technology.
Although this trend can be widely seen in contact centers today with the adoption of messaging, chatbots, social media, etc., call centers are not on par with the drastic changes the situation demands.
- Empowering employees
Agents are nothing but the pillars of strength for a great call center. But constant efforts and hours of work can often go to waste without proper auditing. On the other hand, customers seek a seamless customer experience without compromise.
But amidst this chaos, the attrition rate can drop with the introduction of AI-based softwares. After all, a happy employee will always produce results much more than ten other unsatisfied employees.
- Adapting to work-from-home culture
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the world has seen work-from-home through new eyes. As difficult as it has become for organizations to bring back employees to the office, there’s a new development – Companies have started releasing work-from-home policies.
But what happens when the job is customer-facing and demands a lot of coordination from scheduling calls, training, and much more?
Contact center softwares have made this possible through automated call quality analysis, automated agent coaching, and call behavior analysis.
An automated remote setup has also enabled leaders and supervisors to manage the agents from miles away.
Will call centers die?
But leaving all the speculations aside, nothing can replace the human touch. So, even if human jobs get replaced by AI and call centers to see fewer employees, there will always be a requirement for the human touch. That brings us to our main question – will call centers disappear altogether?
Maybe, maybe not! But the answer lies in demand and supply chain. There is demand for call centers and, even more so, for humans.
One of the most important solutions that call centers have started adapting is customer relationship management softwares.
It not only encourages agents not to lose their jobs but also helps them become top-notch agents with the help of automated agent coaching.
The future of call centers is unseen, but the human race has always adapted and let go of technology only to replace it with more significant innovations. Could call centers be facing a similar situation?